Happy birthday to me.

Today, I turn 35.  It’s been an interesting year/life so far.  I’m not exactly where I thought I would be when I turned 35, but I’m still here.  So this year, for my birthday, I’ve decided to make a list.  What kind of list, you ask?  Well, my blog so far has been full of a lot of whining and complaining about what hasn’t gone right in my life.  So I’ve decided that this list is going to be ’35 Things I’m Thankful For.’  It’s about time for something positive, right?

So here goes ..

  1. First and foremost, I’m thankful that I’ve actually made it to 35.  So many people haven’t, for one reason or another.  And while I may not have it all together, I’ve had fun getting to where I am now.
  2. I’m thankful to have been born into the family that I’m in.  Like everybody else, we have our moments where we may not get along.  But I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.
  3. I’m thankful to be from Pennsylvania.  That might sound weird but I love my home state and the city I grew up in.  It will always be home, even if I’m miles and miles away.
  4. I’m thankful to have known the people in my life who are no longer here with me.  My best friend, Kellie Marie, who would have turned 35 eleven days ago.  All four of my grandparents, including my Grandma who died the day before my 17th birthday.  My Aunts and Uncles who are no longer here but I have tons of fond memories of.  And all the kids I went to school with who didn’t make it this far.  You will always hold a special spot in my heart.
  5. I’m thankful for those who are willing to put themselves out there and help complete strangers/people they barely know.  The charity in this world still amazes me and I wish there was more of it to go around.
  6. I’m thankful for my sister.  She’s stronger than she’ll ever know and while she doesn’t know about this blog, so she won’t ever see this, she’s always been one of my heroes.
  7. I’m thankful for the fact that I have a bed to sleep in and a home to wake up in every day.  So many people don’t have that luxury and it’s something a lot of us take for granted.
  8. I’m also thankful for the fact that I have a job and can afford those luxuries along with many others.  Like always having food in my belly, water to drink and bathe in, and all the childish things we take for granted like a phone, cable, and this here computer I’m writing on right now.
  9. I’m thankful that I was born in America.  Maybe we aren’t the country that we’d like to be.  Maybe we’re divided more now than we have been for a long time.  But I know deep in my heart that we have the ability to stand up and be something amazing again.  We have the ability to take on the world, to show them what we’re made of, and make real change.   The good kind, mind you.
  10. I’m thankful that I have a father who was afraid of water as a child and was therefore determined to teach his kids to swim at an early age.  He spawned my love for the water and created in me a ‘fish.’
  11. I’m thankful for art, of all kinds.  The artists who have come before us and who are here now, I’m thankful for their inspiration and leadership.  I’m thankful for the fact that they didn’t stay inside the box, giving the rest of us something to strive for.  Shout out to Jackson Pollock and Grandma Moses, my two favorite artists.
  12. I’m thankful for my Grandma, the one who passed away before my birthday.  She pushed me to go to an art camp that I’d been so excited to go to.  I lost her that week, but I was left with memories that I’ve cherished my entire life since, just as she knew I would be.  I’m thankful that she wasn’t selfish enough to ask me to stay.  I’m also thankful that, for the years before she died, she was trying her own hand at art by taking classes so that we’d have something to talk about.  She was an amazing woman and I miss her dearly.
  13. I’m thankful for my own talent, and from those it comes from.  I’m a firm believer that we collect our traits from our family members.  My Mom’s Dad was a brilliant artist.  He sketched everything he saw during the war.  I wish I kept at it more but I hope I made him proud anyway.
  14. I’m thankful for cookbooks!  This one might seem silly, but I love to cook.  I love experimenting with new things, new combinations of flavors and foods.  My Mom collects cookbooks and I’ve taken to doing the same thing.  Someday, I hope I get the chance to make more of the awesome recipes others have created.
  15. I’m thankful for Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall.  Women like them, who spent their lives protecting and learning about the animals they loved, are an inspiration to me.  Monkeys are my absolute favorites and these women have helped me learn more about them.
  16. I’m thankful for all the women who participated in the Women’s March across the globe.  Thank you for standing up for the rights of others, for those less able to stand for themselves and for those too afraid to.
  17. This one is going to spark some controversy, I’m sure, but I’m thankful to Obama for being an amazing president.  I’m thankful that he was able to light the way to a better world, that he spoke up for those who couldn’t speak for themselves, and that he helped inspire the change that we’re all fighting for now.
  18. That being said, I’m thankful to have been given the opportunity to choose what and who I believe in.  I’m thankful to be a woman who still, currently, has the rights to decide for herself.  I’m thankful to be able to make my own decisions, to have a job, to vote.  I’m thankful for all the women who fought for these rights years ago and for those who tried so hard to help us keep them.
  19. No matter what your political views might be, I’m thankful for each and every person out there who is standing up for what they believe in.  That’s what our country was founded on.  Differing opinions learning to communicate and live peacefully.  I just hope we can find our way back to that.
  20. On a lighter note, I’m thankful for Netflix.  Because who isn’t thankful for Netflix?!
  21. I’m thankful for all the doctors and nurses who helped my brother-in-law while he was in the hospital.  And for all the ones who will continue to help him as he goes through the process of battling cancer.
  22. I’m thankful for all the scientists that are currently working on trying to find a cure for all the different cancers out there.  I hope that they continue to get enough funding to do the good work that they’re doing because it will help millions of people and their families.
  23. I’m thankful for everyone who donates to cancer charities, who runs in marathons that raise money for said charities, and who starts fundraising events.  I’m thankful for all the celebrities and non-celebrities who put in thousands of hours to make sure all of that gets done without expecting anything in return.  I’m thankful that there are still people who would do that.
  24. I’m thankful for Michael J. Fox and his Parkinsons foundation.  I know that they may not find a cure in my mother’s lifetime, but knowing that it is a genetic disease, I hope that they may find one in my nephew’s lifetime should he end up with it.
  25. I’m thankful for all the people who take time out of their busy lives to help those in need.  Not so much in the greater aspect, but in the smaller ones.  I’m thankful for the people who would stop to give a few bucks to the guy on the corner, for the people who would buy them a burger or a few groceries, for the people who would share some bottles of water or a ride somewhere.
  26. I’m thankful for the shelters that are set up around our country.  I’m thankful for the programs that benefit the homeless, that enable them to get back on their feet.  I wish I could start one myself.  I always thought turning the empty warehouses in our country into housing for the homeless would be a good thing to do.
  27. I’m thankful for the ability to think and to dream, and for those who have used that ability to invent useful things.
  28. I’m thankful to have had all the pets that I’ve had.  I miss my dog, Jess, all the time.  I like to think that she’s up in Heaven playing with my friend Kellie Marie and all her pets.  Someday, I hope to find another pet that I love just as much.
  29. I’m thankful for books, for all the writers out there who give us daily inspiration with their stories.  And in the same light, I’m thankful for movies.
  30. I’m thankful that Jane Austen wrote all the things that she wrote and that her brother was kind enough to get things published for her, even if nobody knew it was her at the time.  I hope she knows now just how amazing she was and I hope that she looks down on the world that has fallen in love with her stories with pride, not prejudice.
  31. I’m thankful for all the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect our country.  And by that, I mean that I’m thankful for our EMTs, our firefighters, our police officers, and all branches of the military.
  32. I’m thankful for everything outside.  For all the trees that give us air, the water that nourishes us (and is a wonderful place to play), and all the little animals.  I’m especially thankful for the little lizards here in Florida because they’re always fun to watch.
  33. I’m thankful for my friends.  The ones here and the ones back home.  I miss everyone in PA so very much.  I hope they all know how much they mean to me.
  34. I’m thankful for Facebook.  Silly, I know.  But having moved so far away, it makes it so much easier to keep in touch with the people I no longer see every day.
  35. And last but not least, I’m thankful for everyone who bothered to read this entire list.  I hope that it wasn’t too much of a waste of time.  I was surprised at how hard it was to actually think of all 35 things.

— Don’t get me wrong!  There are hundreds of things that I’m thankful for but some of them just seem so stupid and pointless, not really worth mentioning even if they seem important to me at the time.  I wanted the list to be a little more substantial than ‘I’m thankful for Smallville cause it was an awesome show and I’m thankful for the ability to stream the crap out of it on Hulu.’  You know what I mean?  I’m totally thankful for those things but it’s not exactly worth mentioning.

Anyway, I’m going to go back to doing that.  Streaming Smallville.  Cause that’s what I’m doing for my birthday and there’s nothing wrong with that!  Happy birthday to me!

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